Namibian Eagles drawn in tough group

Tangeni Lungameni in action for Namibia. Photo: Helge Schütz

Namibia’s Richelieu Eagles have been drawn in a tough group for the T20 World Cup which includes the defending champions England and the 2021 champions Australia.

Namibia will also play against Scotland and Oman in Group B of the global showpiece which takes place in the West Indies and the United States from 1 to 29 June this year. 

All of Namibia’s matches will take place in the West Indies with their campaign starting off against fellow Associate member team, Oman at Kensington Oval in Barbados on 2 June, while they take on another Associate member, Scotland, at the same venue four days later. 

Namibia then travel about 500km north to Antigua where they will play their final two group matches at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium against Australia on 11 June and England on 15 June. 

A total of 20 teams will compete at the T20 World Cup, which is four more than the 16 teams which competed at the last world cup two years ago. The 20 teams are divided into four groups of five teams each, with the top two teams in each group advancing to the Super Eight round, where the teams will be split into two groups of four each. After round robin group matches, the remainder of the tournament will take place on a knockout basis, with the top two teams progressing to the semifinals, and the winners to the final at Barbados on 29 June.

It will be Namibia’s third consecutive appearance at the T20 World Cup after their debut in UAE in 2021 where they qualified for the Super 12 stage of the competition to gain automatic entry to the 2022 T20 World Cup in Australia in 2022. 

In 2021 Namibia lost to Sri Lanka, but beat the Netherlands and Ireland to qualify for the Super 12 stage, where they beat Scotland, but lost to Pakistan, New Zealand, India and Afghanistan. 

In 2022, Namibia pulled off one of the major upsets of the tournament by beating Sri Lanka by 55 runs in their opening match, but subsequent defeats to the Netherands and UAE saw them finishing third in their group and missing out on the Super 12 stage. 

Namibia then once again had to qualify for the 2024 T20 World Cup, but did so in style when they won all their matches to win the Africa qualifier in Windhoek in November last year. 

England and Australia will start as the overwhelming favourites in Group B to progress to the Super Eight round, but the T20 World Cup has seen several major upsets in the past, including Ireland’s victories against England in 2011 and Pakistan in 2007, and Afghanistan’s victory against England last year, and especially in the shorter format of the game, anything is possible. 

In the other groups, India, Pakistan, Ireland, Canada and the USA willcompete in Group A; New Zealand, West Indies, Afghanistan, Uganda, and Papua NewGuinea will compete in Group C; and South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Netherlands and Nepal will compete in Group D. 

ICC chief executive, Geoff Allardice said: “The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 marks an exciting expansion of our sport with more teams than ever before set to compete in this event. It’s going to be an incredible spectacle bringing together 20 international teams from Africa, the Americas, Asia, East-Asia Pacific and Europe.

“The release of the fixtures is made even more exciting for fans as we enter a new frontier, with the USA hosting a major ICC event for the first time. With 16 matches being played across three venues in the USA, it allows us to make a statement in the world’s biggest sports market.

Cricket West Indies chief executive Johnny Grave said: “The announcement of the match schedule for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024 marks a significant milestone in our preparations for this year’s tournament.  We know that teams, fans and cricket enthusiasts worldwide have been eagerly awaiting this announcement, and now that it is available, it provides a roadmap for the thrilling journey that lies ahead.

“In addition to the match fixtures, the announcement also highlights the host countries and iconic venues that will set the stage for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Each host country and city will bring its own unique flavour to the tournament, and fans from every corner of the globe can expect an exciting blend of T20 cricketing entertainment, local culture and warm hospitality.

“From classic rivalries to history making upsets and continental showdowns, fans can start looking forward to an action-packed month of games at the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup next June, and we encourage everyone to get tickets as soon as they go on sale as we expect the demand to be high.”

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